This Is Africa (The Ugly, well not really)

The ugly… Where to begin? Well for starters let’s point out that I’m completely out of money and living in JHB International Airport for the remaining days till I can catch my flight home…

Whew, OK now that that’s out there, I would like to use this closing post to touch on some of the hilarious, awkward, slightly disturbing aspects of South Africa. Whether it’s a sign that says, “Baboons are dangerous animals. Lock your doors.” or the indemnity form we signed in order to enter a sketchy game park, sometimes all you can do is sigh and say, “This Is Africa…”

At one point (well let’s be fair, several points) in our trip we encountered directional challenges. On several occasions we were forced to just shake our heads and express “T.I.A.” aloud to ease frustrations. We asked a gas station clerk for directions to a park and he stated, “you just take N1 to Rustenburg (a distant city at this point) and turn right…” Really? Just turn right….? Needless to say we were lost for hours. This is Africa…

One another occasion we were driving through a desolate area down an empty road and came across a lone man standing under a strange sign. This African CalTrans equivalent was dancing wildly (you know those annoying sign twirlers that have taken over busy intersections? Just like that…) under a sign that showed a screaming face with print exclaiming, “Please don’t kill me!” How’s that for an African “Don’t Speed.”

On one decently traveled road we had to stop and wait for nearly a half hour for a herd of cattle that decided to cut us off and cross the bridge first, leaving us screaming at them out our windows and inevitably relenting, “This Is Africa”

Near the end of our journey we did some shopping in downtown Johannesburg (not exactly the scenic area). We all erupted in laughter when we pass a couple and hear a loud gasp followed by, “A white guy!” Nick later decided to get corn rows from a street braider in order to blend in… most definitely a failed endeavor.

Another fine recollection is of several hot dog vendors getting friendly before a soccer match. The guys were ordering up and chatting it up and the girls working the booth stated they wanted to move the USA. We did the standard, “Well we want to move here!” maneuver which quickly lead to a blunt request to marry them… We suddenly realized we were late for a soccer match.

I have poured out sweat, blood and money throughout this wild land. I have laughed harder than any other 2 month segment of my entire life. Whether it was laughing about a busted tire at night in a sketchy neighborhood or waiting on the street for a building to potentially blow up, this place has seared incredible stories into my brain. This land has embraced us at times and at other times rejected us. This land has been horrifying, hilarious, loving, warm, icy cold, volatile, ugly but mostly beautiful. This land feels like home now. This country cannot be compared to any other. It is it’s own category and anomaly. This is Africa.

Published in: on 18/07/2010 at 5:40 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dude!! When are you coming home?? Is it that soon?

    LOVED your posts. Too awesome…

    • Comin home today, which means I’ll be home tomorrow…. which means…. I’ll be home in 2 calendar days your time. See you soon! Oh, remind me I have a verse I want to show ya that made me think of the Brazil team. Ciao for now.


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